Covid-19 - Staff Update - blended learning

Covid-19 - Staff Update - blended learning

Staff update - 01 June 2020

Dear colleague,

Thank you for all the hard work that you are doing to support our students and our University during this Covid-19 pandemic and its associated challenges.

As many of you are of course aware, planning is under way for the forthcoming academic year 2020/21 and the blended learning approach we will be taking for at least the first half of the new session. Our approach is guided by Phase 3 of the Scottish Government’s route map, which plans for a phased return of universities with blended learning in place.

Last week at our second Open Session for staff on blended learning we provided some more details about how we expect this to look. You can catch-up with the session – which I co-hosted with Aberdeen University Students’ Association Education Officer Dariya Koleva - and its Q&A here.

We will shortly be sending out communications to our current students, and to prospective students, as discussed at the Open Session. These can be seen here and here. Amongst other information, we have said to students that we are expecting to welcome them to our campuses, but that there are some things that will not be possible while distancing and related restrictions are still in place, such as large lectures or large group sessions.

Our teaching and learning approach is being steered by the Blended Learning Implementation Task and Finish Group (BLITFG) where you will find the agendas, minutes, action plan, responses to the previous all staff session questions, and other documents.

Our existing guidance on teaching remotely is available here to help you with this work. Later this week you will also be able to access our Principles and Guidance for Blended Learning – an accessible resource that aims to support your work in developing the teaching and learning for your courses. In addition, on our course booking site in the Centre for Academic Development, you will find live information on the courses that are available to support your preparations for blended learning.

We know this is a very busy time for everyone and we want to do all we can to support you in this work. That is why we have put in place a Support Team for each School made up of colleagues from the Centre for Academic Development, specialist and project management colleagues.

The BLITFG is working closely with the School Task & Finish Groups as Schools take forward their preparations for the delivery of blended learning for the new academic year, including the development of online course materials.

Further all staff online sessions will be arranged to keep you informed and to hear your feedback and comments on a regular basis.

In the meantime, if you have ideas, suggestions or other comments, please email coronavirus@abdn.ac.uk.

Delivering blended learning for all our students in the autumn is a huge effort for all of our staff. We remain as aware as ever of the difficult working conditions that many staff face and will face right into the autumn, for example because a proportion of staff will still have intermittent caring responsibilities for children themselves being schooled on a blended learning model.

Our planning will therefore focus on resilience, not only of our programmes and our plans for the use of our campuses, but also of staff. We will therefore continue to seek ways to reduce the volume of other work to allow us to focus on the key tasks in hand, and encourage you to send ideas on this to wellbeing@abdn.ac.uk.

Thank you for your contribution to the collective effort. By working together as a community, we will rise to the challenge. 

Best wishes,

Ruth

 

Professor Ruth Taylor

Vice-Principal (Education)     

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